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  1. #1
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    New question here. Clyde worthiness of 32 spoked 29er wheel

    Just my 0.02$ to stir the fire in eternal 32 vs 36 spoked wheel debate.

    Recently I discussed a new wheelset for 120 mm full suser 29er with experienced local wheel builder. I've decided to go with pretty strong (25 mm section height) leftover 700c Mach1 510 (610g) rims laced to 32h DT 350 hubs. I'm reluctant to build 36 spoked wheels because of evidently shrinking availability of 36h rims and hubs.

    He complained that 32 spokes wheel is not durable enough for us big boned clydes even with such a strong rim, unless straight-pull spokes aren't used. He cited numerous personal evidence of broken spokes in the J-bend area, exclusively in 32 spoked wheels. Eventually, he calmed down and agreed to build me new set of wheels if I provide triple butted Alpina III spokes, 2.3/1.8/2.0 mm. Those are reinforced in J-bend area (2.3 mm), and I've planed to use them anyway.

    I've done some mechanical calculations with different rim sections. It came up that 510 rims are stronger than anything currently available from Stan's ZTR range, just for reference. As a plan B, I've thought of Sun Ringle MTX-33 rims, they have double strength of 510, but unfortunately are quite heavy, almost 800g apiece in 29er size. Maybe, just maybe, if long term reviews come good and finance allows, I'd like to build something like Derby's wide heavy duty 29er rim.

    What is the collective knowledge and opinion on the issue at hand, ie. 36-spoked wheel (just ordinary, double butted 2.0/1.8/2.0) vs 32 straight-pull spokes (very unlikely) vs 32 triple butted J-bend reinforced spokes (preferable solution)?

    Stan

  2. #2
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    You don't say how much of a clyde...

    If your guy can't build a 32 spoke wheel that doesn't break spokes, I'd find a different wheelbuilder. Fatigue in the bend area happens because of insufficient spoke tension, not so much because there isn't enough material there; i.e., you don't need triple-butted or straight pull spokes, or put another way, with this guy's demonstrated [lack of] skill, triple butted spokes will also probably fail (though the butt might be enough to push the failure somewhere else on the spoke).

    Rim failures are almost unheard of, therefor rim strength is kind of an overrated idea, the difference in strength between whatever no-name rims and Stans is pretty slight in terms of overall wheel strength, rim width is much more important (no idea how wide the 510 rims you mentioned are, I'd never buy another rim that's narrower than a flow ex).

  3. #3
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    Agreed - J-bend failures reflect more on the builder than the rider. I used to have J-bend failures before I got into the habit of using a tension gauge and pre-stressing the wheel.

    Knock on wood, since then I've never had a 32-spoke wheel break a spoke, ever.

  4. #4
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    ^good info

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  5. #5
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    I've never had issues with 32 spoke wheels using quality (DT, Sapim, Wheelsmith) spokes that are properly tensioned.

    36 spoke wheels are certainly an option and in some cases may be warranted. But in most cases 32 spokes is sufficient even for larger riders.
    Former bicycle mechanic for 8 years, current soil scientist.

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  6. #6
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    OK, I talked to the guy again and conveyed the views expressed in this thread to him. He confirmed about properly tensioned spokes but put some more insight to it. He stated that if one or more spokes in a wheel lose their tension, it is never a big deal with 36 spoked wheel, but in case of 32 spokes it leads to the broken spokes and wheel failure. Basically, if you use 32 spoked wheels, you have to check spokes often (and retension if nessesary) or you risk failure.

    Furthermore, most of the wheels with broken spokes he mentioned before were not his build, but ordinary machine laced wheels that come as standard equipment with entry level bicycles.

    In his righteous defence I have to say I have two sets of 26", 36-spoked wheels built by him. In more than ten years of use, no single broken or even lose spoke. Just quick check and retensioning once in a while. I'm around 300 lbs on light sunday mornings and ride mostly XC and singletrack.

    Stan
    Last edited by standa11; 02-05-2014 at 03:57 PM. Reason: Rephrasing

  7. #7
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    I've been as high as 288 pounds. I've been riding the same pair of Salsa rims for about four years. I had to re lace the rear wheel once because a big stick bent up some of my spokes.
    32 DT Swiss double butted spokes 2.0-1.8-2.0 and brass nipples will be fine for you. If you didn't live halfway around the world, I'd build wheels for you.
    ANY wheel needs to be tensioned and stress relieved properly. Parts alone do not a great wheel make.
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  8. #8
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    32 is fine unless you're really heavy.

    FWIW, I rode Bontrager Race Lite (28 spoke XC race wheels) on 500+ miles of AM trails with a 100mm XC bike before getting a 140mm trail bike and they didn't so much as go out of true. I'm 240lbs naked.

  9. #9
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    1: the notion that a loose spoke is "never a big deal" on a 36 spoke wheel. In other words some of the spokes are unnecessary. Well, the statement is wrong in the first place; if one spoke goes slack, then it's neighbors end up taking the loads the slack spoke would have seen if it were tight, and they fail.
    2: the notion that you have to check spoke tension often. I check mine every 4-5 years, which is how frequently they go out of true. I'm only about 230, which which makes me lighter on wheels that some, but my riding style... well I view finesse as a crutch for people who can't just hit things harder.

    3: I don't see shortcoming of shitty machine built 32 spoke wheels as a justification for 36 spokes, unless you were planning on getting shitty machine built 36s. I've broken spokes in those by the way.

    Based on what you've said, I'd have no problem building you a 32 spoke wheel that would last for years. like NYrr496 said, you have to stress relieve it properly, unfortunately a few lbs wheel builders I've talked to think "have the customer ride it for a while then bring it back" is how you do that.

  10. #10
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    I hope your bike has a coil shock if you're worried about wheel flex.

  11. #11
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    Why risk it? If you want a worry free wheelset that will stay true longer than you ever will, utilize 36 spoke with unpainted brass nipples, silver spokes, and maybe something a little more stout that DT350?

    I know they are spendy but out of my mavic, shimano, and hope hubs, my Chris Kings are the only rear hub that hasn't given me any issues. Don't listen to all the *****ing about servicing the hubs, as routine bearing service can be done with standard service tools.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    Why risk it? If you want a worry free wheelset that will stay true longer than you ever will, utilize 36 spoke with unpainted brass nipples, silver spokes, and maybe something a little more stout that DT350?
    You read my mind, actually. I'm torn between Chris and Hope. Is it considered some kind of travesty if I mix both (rear Chris, front Hope)?

  13. #13
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    Hope hubs are more of a lightweight hub, if you are worried about durability go chris king all around. Hope hubs are awesome, but if you are a heavy powerful rider you could wear them out or break them much more easily than a Chris King hub.
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  14. #14
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    Never had an issue with Hopes even as heavy as 320 pounds. I also rode them converted to single speed. Just make sure to get the steel free body.

    But I'll also say CK is awesome as well. I'm on a CK SS rear hub now. Engagement is way better for SS riding. Geared riding I don't think I'd tell as much a difference nor would I care.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all responses people.

    Nah, Chris King is way to expensive for me. Besides, I've read that Hopes are better suited for wet weather conditions which we have a lot here.

    Knowing that 32h rim would be good enough is reassuring. But, as in "if some is good, more is better" I decided to go 36 for peace of mind.

    In the meantime I found inexpensive Mach1 540 DHG, 36h rims in a LBS. According to pure numbers these should be almost as stout as MTX-33, but somewhat less heavy and 3x less expensive. They even look good in black with silver brushed braking surfaces.

  16. #16
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    a 32h can be fine for a big boy.

    back in the day when we didn't know what we were doing, my bro at 320lbs rode a bone stock Sugar 293 with the super-noodle wheels, 28hole, etc... never had a problem.

    Of course they were flexy as all get out. Following him down the trail it was an on-going miracle that he didn't break something.

    But a good wheelbuilder can make a bullet proof 32hole wheel. I'd pick a stout rim, hub, and spoke-set.

    Best wheel builder..period.... is Mike Curiak, go to lacemine29.com
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  17. #17
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    I warped/twisted both the front and rear DT Swiss hoops on my Yeti SB95c in fairly short order, re-laced them with Stan's Arch and brass nipples by a master wheel builder and have been fine the few times I've ridden them since. However I decided to pony up the cash for some 32 spoke Enve AM's with Chris Kings and the difference in carving a line and minimizing wheel flex was nothing short of phenomenal. I'm in the 225# range myself but have a habit of hitting trail trash straight on as I spent much more time on 12" travel motos.

  18. #18
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    Clyde worthiness of 32 spoked 29er wheel

    Quote Originally Posted by some dude View Post
    I warped/twisted both the front and rear DT Swiss hoops on my Yeti SB95c in fairly short order, re-laced them with Stan's Arch and brass nipples by a master wheel builder and have been fine the few times I've ridden them since. However I decided to pony up the cash for some 32 spoke Enve AM's with Chris Kings and the difference in carving a line and minimizing wheel flex was nothing short of phenomenal. I'm in the 225# range myself but have a habit of hitting trail trash straight on as I spent much more time on 12" travel motos.
    A Clyde with a basher riding style has no business riding Arches.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    A Clyde with a basher riding style has no business riding Arches.
    I built a Yeti ARCc Hardtail with them last fall and only have about 200ish miles on that bike now, but the HT definitely makes me pick better lines. At some point I'll pick up some Enve XC 32 holers hopefully barely used. It's a back-up, trainer, XC bike for me so I think they'll do alright, Flows are just too wide for an XC bike IMHO.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by some dude View Post
    Flows are just too wide for an XC bike IMHO.
    Not if you're a giant Clyde... Then they're just about right.
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